Wrenna Boe

by Michelle Smith

Wrenna Boe is living her ideal life on her boat Sundancer with her parents and all is well on The River Sas except for gossip and rumours of dark goings-on. But when Wrenna travels upriver to take part in a ceremony called The Choosing which will see her life taken up in service to Gaia, she is transformed into a dragon and her life changes forever. Wrenna doesn’t understand the magic she has been granted and nobody in authority will teach her to control it for fear she is tainted. To further add to her problems, her parents have disappeared without trace and she is forced on an adventure aboard Sundancer with her best friend Will. Wrenna’s control over her newfound power is tested to the limits by attacks and treachery as she seeks to unravel the mystery of her missing parents.

About the Author

Michelle Smith was born in Scotland but now lives in Bath with her partner, two small folks and a huge hound. She draws inspiration from many years as a liveaboard boater to colour her stories and can often be found gongoozling on The Kennet and Avon Canal. Michelle completed her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018 and the Writing for Young People MA in 2020, (cough) at Bath Spa University. Her other interests include running around the Bath hills like a lost haggis, growing mostly edible veg, sticking her head in hedges to photograph flowers and trying to remember how to write poetry. Wrenna Boe is her debut novel.

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Wrenna Boe by Michelle Smith

Complete at 79,000 words, Wrenna Boe is a middle-grade fantasy in which 13-year-old Wrenna gains the power to transform into any magical creature that she meets. Only Wrenna can’t control this power. When her parents go missing, she and her friend Will embark on an adventure aboard her boat, Sundancer. As Wrenna comes to terms with the reality of looking after herself and her home alone, she must also learn to master her power to bring her parents back safely.

Wrenna Boe is a fantasy novel that blends a unique and quirky community of water-dwellers with dragons and magic.

My hope is that Wrenna Boe will add to the rich literature already available about and by folks who live afloat, and dispel some of the stigma levelled at water dwellers.

This novel is a culmination of over four years’ work, and one that I hope my own children will enjoy when they are old enough.

What was your inspiration for this story?

Life on the inland waterways and many of the women I met there.

What was your most memorable moment on the MA?

When Elen Caldecott convinced me to swap back to Wrenna Boe after starting another middle-grade novel called Gutterjucks.

What is the most important thing you learned on the MA?

That a zero draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s OK for it to be a bit crap.

What’s your favourite part of the writing process?

Going on an adventure with my main character. I’m not a forward planner, so I know as much as my protagonist, and that’s quite exciting.

What do you like doing when you’re not writing?

I love to photograph and identify plants and fungi and then learn more about how they fit into the wider ecosystem.

What is your top piece of advice for aspiring writers?

It’s great to write outside your comfort zone, but writing your loves into your work is always a win for me.

What was your favourite book as a child?

The Hobbit.

What place in fiction do you most want to visit?

Ma Costa’s barge.